Perry and Cervical Cancer

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 15 2011 2:22 PM

Perry and Cervical Cancer

When I asked Rep. Louie Gohmert if Rick Perry would be an acceptable presidential candidate, the first gripe he brought up was Perry's signature on a bill that required young girls to get vaccinated for the Human Papillomavirus -- to prevent cervical cancer. Maggie Haberman gets his walk-back.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

I hate cancer. And this HPV, we were seeing young ladies die at the early age. What we should have done was a program that frankly should have allowed them to opt in, or some type of program like that, but here’s what I learned — when you get too far out in front of the parade they will let you know. And that’s exactly what our legislature did.
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Why was this ever a hot-button issue? Different reasons. Gohmert's reason was pure leave-us-alone logic. Ed Morrissey cites Catholic Vote for the other reason.

Unlike other public health threats like meningitis, which spreads easily between people in close quarters, the only way a teenager will get HPV is from sexual intercourse. If they abstain, they are in no real danger in getting this virus which causes cervical cancer.
Obviously Merck wants to make a lot of money by making all of our daughters get the $120 shots. And I understand that sexually transmitted diseases have become a pandemic, one that we don’t talk enough about.
But if we force every daughter to get Gardasil, we have lost hope in the ability of our children to say no to hazardous premarital sex.
In effect, the very decision to give your daughter Gardasil tells your daughter: “I know you can’t say no.” This gives her the green light. She’ll think: “After all, Mom and Dad think I’m having sex anyway.”

So that's the sentiment Perry is getting right with.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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